Sports

Return of fans to sports stadiums delayed until at least 5 October

Return of fans to sports stadiums delayed until at least 5 October

The return of fans to Scottish sports stadiums has been delayed until 5 October at the earliest, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The previously indicated date of 14 September has been pushed back three weeks due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.

But two Scottish Premiership test events – Aberdeen v Kilmarnock and Ross County against Celtic – will go ahead on Saturday as planned.

Further possible pilots will be judged on a “case to case basis”.

Up to 300 supporters will be in attendance at both Pittodrie and Victoria Park on Saturday, the first time Scottish football matches have had supporters in place since March.

Last month’s Pro14 meeting of Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, which had 700 fans at Murrayfield, is the only Scottish sporting pilot event held so far.

But the prospect of welcoming back larger crowds this month is now over, with the average daily rate of coronavirus cases in the week up to yesterday having risen to 55, from just 14 six weeks ago.

“The pandemic is at this stage accelerating again – albeit, and thankfully, from a low base and not as rapidly as it was back in March and April,” said Sturgeon.

“We have concluded that these changes must be paused for a further three weeks. The new indicative date for their resumption is Monday 5 October.

“However, I must stress that this remains an indicative date – a final decision can only be taken nearer the time.”

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